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Re: Down jacket vs fleece for JMT

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  • Robert
    You may want to consider the Patagonia down sweater vest instead. It s even lighter than the sweater, less expensive, and gives your arms freer movement. I did
    Message 1 of 32 , Jan 4, 2013
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      You may want to consider the Patagonia down sweater vest instead. It's even lighter than the sweater, less expensive, and gives your arms freer movement. I did the JMT in early Aug. 2011 when there was a lot of snow and mornings were nippy above 10,000.

      Except for the ascent of Whitney, I only used the vest at night when the temps dropped and first thing in the morning to cut the chill.

      The most I ever wore when I got up one morning at a camp at about 12,000 feet just south of Forester Pass was a Smartwool micro T, Smartwool micro long-sleeve quarter zip, nylon Columbia shirt, Patagonia down vest, REI Kimtah shell, Mountain Hardware Matterhorn nylon pants, and some Navy surplus wool fingerless gloves. It was windy and about 34 degrees at sun up. Within a few minutes of walking I shed the shell and down vest and was down to the T-shirt before three or four miles.

      I brought a Smartwool micro weight long underwear bottom but only wore them that night in my 30 degree bag and at Guitar Lake the next day.

      On the approach to Mt. Whitney I wore a micro T, the nylon shirt and the down vest and the gloves and was fine even at the top. This was sunny weather.

      The Patagonia is truly one of the best garments I've ever owned. Since my trip I've bought a down sweater for colder weather and skiing. I don't think I would ever need it backpacking on the JMT at least in late July to mid Sept.

      The vest or sweater also makes for an excellent down pillow by just stuffing it in a sack, or in my case, the pouch on my Thermarest pillow. Fleece isn't half as good.

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "rnagarajan" wrote:
      > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, robert shattuck wrote:
      > >
      > > Durability was my concern when I bought my first light-weight down jacket––it was also an odd sensation to be wearing something so light and yet, feel so protected and warm. I went with a hoody, also. why not.
      > >
      > That's good to know. Durability is really my main concern but I'm pretty careful with gear. If I can hike with it when needed without worries in addition to wearing around camp I don't think I'll be able to resist going with down for the weight and volume savings.
      > Right now my ascent of Whitney is penciled in for mid September but may push into later in September depending on whether I start the week before or week after Labor Day. So I anticipate some cold evenings and mornings when I get to the southern sections of the trail.
    • robert shattuck
      I decided to go with the Montbell UL Down Parka I ll second the Montbell UL with the hood! . . . Just put a layer or two under it and you re going to be
      Message 32 of 32 , Feb 17, 2013
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        "I decided to go with the Montbell UL Down Parka" 

        I'll second the Montbell UL with the hood! . . . Just put a layer or two under it and you're going to be happy. I've used it on the last three or four JMT's and even snow camping and never had a complaint. Packd down super small, as well. 


        To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
        From: ravi@...
        Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2013 01:20:35 +0000
        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Down jacket vs fleece for JMT

        A brief follow up on the jacket that may help others decide. I decided to go with the Montbell UL Down Parka and received it today. My first impression was that it seemed impossibly light to provide anywhere near enough warmth near freezing. So I put it on over just a t shirt and walked around my neighborhood for an hour this evening (36 degrees, 26 wind chill). This is one amazing jacket. At least while walking at a moderate pace I never felt cold at all and it was surprisingly wind resistant as well. The parka hood eliminated the need for my usual winter hat.

        I would think that adding a shell on top of the down parka and using a decent base layer would provide warmth to the mid-high 20s while sitting around at camp. I think the effectiveness of the down jacket depends on it having an "athletic" type fit so it is good I went with the medium rather than the large. There is still space for a base layer and light sweater/fleece under the jacket. Thanks to everyone who provided input on this.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "rnagarajan" wrote:
        > I have several fleece layers (pullover, vest) that I've typically used for hiking in cooler weather (under 40-45 degrees) and I like the material because it is durable and doesn't lose its insulation when wet. However, I'm tempted by some of the lightweight down jackets both for weight and space savings in the pack.
        > My main concern is that the ultralight down jackets seem fragile and I'm not sure they are intended to be worn while moving. Are they durable enough to be worn with the potential abrasion resulting from the pack itself and/or brush on the trail? Or do people mainly use down jackets while in camp and not moving? I never worry about damaging my fleece layers and they are also relatively inexpensive compared to a $150-200 down jacket.
        > I assume that an insulating layer may be needed while moving as well as in camp particularly for the Whitney ascent and the higher passes in the southern section especially since I plan to hike that section in September. Would I be better of sticking with fleece or looking into down? Or are there other options I may be missing? Thanks.

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